Sat | Mar 25, 2023

The state of education

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I conduct extra lessons for students sitting GSAT in my church community. I am not a teacher by profession but tremendously love children and have a passion for teaching.

From the papers submitted by some of these children, one can share a huge meal of laughter. However, there is an emergency. We have children being promoted to grade six and sitting the GSAT, who are illiterate. Something needs to be done now to clean up the web of illiteracy in our country.

I have one student who is 12 years old but cannot read any word that has more than three letters. This child does not know how to use syllables, she cannot recognise words such as 'three', 'bank', 'make', 'work'. Yet, she will be sitting GSAT and for sure will be placed in a 'high school' come September. What will happen to her and others like her?

Here is an excerpt from one of the stories written by one of my students:

"I saw a man he barke into a house he say that he whant the money Need the money from you sir. If you do'nt give me the money I wood kill you and your kids. So Give me all the money. I whont kill you. Stay came och! Place donot move If you move I kill you Place Place Place Donot kill me are my child place … ."

I am not writing this to quench anyone's thirst for humour, but to bring to your attention the state of our education system.

need for attention

How can we promote a child like this to grade six, let alone high school? What kind of results are we expecting when we fail to address this issue? I am not sure what the problem is in our schools but there is urgent need for attention. Many of these children write exactly the way they speak, and that is why in my class I insist that they speak English - absolutely no broken language.

Parents and teachers need to work together if we are ever going to paralyse the monster of illiteracy. The Ministry of Education may need to organise more structured and focused workshops and make it mandatory that all teachers attend.

I am, etc.,